A/N: This time my friend (the same one who got me to write a DG story from "ketchup") gave me a prompt of "pantyhose" (not really a Brit word, I know, but I deal with that) and a request to write a li'l Harry/Cedric, who I could not love more, so yay! I guess only mildly slashy... this time.
Team Potter-Pretty Boy
"Harry, you're with Pretty Boy... Sorry, meant Cedric. Krum, you're with the lovely Madamoiselle Delacour. Keep in mind, this is a completely unofficial, not at all sanctioned Triwizard event, so cheating is both allowed and encouraged. But don't keep us waiting! You have four hours to obtain and return with all the items on your list. The team who gets the job done first receives... What is it they receive, George?"
"Immeasurable temporary glory and non-monetary prizes, Fred."
"There you go! So, on your marks... get set... go, you genetically blessed champions, you!"
With four months to pass between the second task of the Triwizard Tournament and the third (and final), and no Quidditch to fill in the meantime, Fred and George Weasley had gotten a bit bored, which was always a dangerous thing. Rather than just staying busy with their usual pranking and inventing, they'd devised a small competition of their own... a scavenger hunt, to be precise... and somehow got Krum, Fleur, Cedric, and Harry to go along with it. For legitimacy, the Gryffindor twins had gotten Ernie Macmillan of Hufflepuff (a good-natured swelled head, who liked the idea of being a "judge"), plus Teodor Zukanov (the only Durmstrang student who seemed to have any sense of humor) and Beauxbatons' Cecile Rousseau (who was a ginger, which helped the Weasleys gain favor) to endorse the hunt with their champions.
So here it was, the end of March... exactly eight o'clock in the evening... and Harry found himself partnered with Cedric Diggory. He was used to Cedric being his chief competitor... they currently stood tied in points in the Tournament... but this might be a nice change. Harry had come to realize over the course of events that Cedric was a really good guy. He would have been well within his rights to hate Harry for being the other Hogwarts champion, as even Harry's best friend Ron had for a while. But instead he had been kind. He had given Harry the suggestion that led to him solving the egg clue (to pay him back for his warning about the first task's dragons, Cedric said). He had been very complimentary of Harry's performance in both of the tasks so far. Even thinking back a year, to the Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff Quidditch match, Cedric had won the match for his team yet still wanted a rematch once he found out about the dementors and Harry falling off his broom. Though they were still competing, and would be through the end of the school year, Harry discovered that he now considered Cedric to be his friend.
"Merlin, Harry," murmured Cedric. "Take a look at this list!" He handed Harry the parchment he'd just unfolded.
Harry read aloud... "The mustache of a house elf." That one made him stop and blink several times before continuing. "A photograph of you with the giant squid... a nose hair from a Slytherin Beater... and one pair of pantyhose, to be worn by a wizard." He shook his head and looked up at the older boy. "Well, this should be an interesting night."
Cedric grinned. "Indeed. Where would you like to start?"
Harry thought for a moment. "Nose hair from a Slytherin Beater. Grossest out of the way first. But do we go after Derrick or Bole?"
"To tell you the truth, I'm not sure I know which is which."
"Hufflepuff Quidditch Captain Diggory, I'm shocked. But you know what? I don't know either." Harry heard Cedric laugh and joined in. "All right, so whichever we find first. Come here and bend over."
"What?" Cedric's gray eyes went wide.
"I mean, bend down... down, not over," Harry fumbled, hoping that sounded better. "Or just crouch down really, just a bit... if you would. You'll see why."
Cedric walked over, only slightly cautious, and bent his knees so that he lost several inches in height. The curious look he was giving Harry only intensified when the younger champ came to stand right beside him... like, right beside him. So close he was breathing in Harry's shampoo, and that's just weird, to be thinking another bloke's hair smells nice. But, before Cedric could examine that too much, Harry pulled something out from behind his back and covered them both with it.
"Harry, is this... is it...?"
"An Invisibility Cloak, yeah. It's a real lifesaver. I've had it for years, and even I'm too tall for it now, so you'll really have to shorten yourself up."
"Right, of course." Cedric rolled his eyes at himself for what he'd nearly thought. "I knew that's what you meant."
They were running a little behind. It was almost 11:30, which meant they only had a half hour left to hunt down their final item. And it promised to be the biggest challenge of them all.
Harry and Cedric had proven to make quite an impressive team. They had claimed their first three items through an equal mixture of their talents. Well, maybe not exactly equal. Harry couldn't deny that the main key to their success so far had been the generous application of Cedric's charm.
When they'd sought the nose hair from Derrick or Bole, it had been Cedric's brilliant idea to tell the hulking Beater (whichever one he was) the truth... partial truth. He'd gone up to him alone, told him about the hunt and what was required... just making it sound as if he and Harry Potter were competing again, rather than on the same team. The Slytherins normally couldn't be bothered with the Hufflepuffs, but this year they were managing to pledge their allegiance to Cedric, just to further stick it to Harry. Cedric had worked that angle, telling Bol-rick that his cooperation would really help him take that attention hog Potter down a few pegs. Der-ole went for it, with a grunt, and Cedric ran back to a still invisible Harry, who waited with congratulations and an empty vial (swiped from Snape's classroom) in which to store the distasteful treasure.
Harry had kind of thought the house elf mustache might just be a gag request. Could house elves even grow facial hair? But they'd found out easily enough, as this time Harry had the connection. He'd snapped his fingers and called out for Dobby, who appeared in less than a second, all overeager helpfulness for Harry Potter-sir. He was a bit cold towards Cedric at first, until Harry said that Cedric was his friend and a kind wizard. Cedric looked at Harry, surprised and pleased, and gave his shoulder a squeeze in thanks. It wasn't that he particularly cared what a house elf thought of him, but Harry didn't have to say what he did. It was nice that he just did because he meant it.
Anyhow, Dobby went from ignoring Cedric to referring to him, affectionately it seemed, as Harry Potter's Diggy... which had Cedric scratching his head until Harry explained that Dobby called Ron his "Wheezy." Then the thought of being Harry's "Diggy" kind of made him smile.
Once the mustache problem was posed to Dobby, the house elf had disappeared and reappeared almost as quickly, but with a handful of dust bunnies, which he'd proudly handed to Harry. Harry started to dispute the item, but it turned out that the only Hogwarts elf who sported a mustache... Belby, his name was... in fact fashioned a fake one out of dust bunnies collected in his cleaning duties. Belby had not been happy about Dobby taking his mustache, but Dobby had promised to help him find a new one in a different color (a different color dust?). Harry and Cedric just shrugged at each other... well, it was a house elf's mustache, all right... and, with much thanks to Dobby, chalked up their second task completed.
Cedric had flirted shamelessly with the giant squid. Harry wouldn't even have thought of that being possible, but his partner had done it. He started by singing to the water... in a quite nice voice... to coax the squid up to the surface. Then he flashed that bright smile, ran his hand through his fluffy yet in-control brown hair (which Harry coveted), and again volunteered the truth of their quest. Harry knew that, being a magical creature, it was entirely likely that the squid did indeed understand what Cedric was saying, but he couldn't fathom why it might want to help them. He didn't even know if the squid was a boy or a girl... not that it mattered. Cedric was so impossibly good-looking, with such sweet manners and noble spirit, it was like his charm could affect anyone.
And it did. The squid was sufficiently taken with Cedric to pull itself half onto the docks long enough for the camera to take a picture of the three of them. Harry had felt bad waking an early-to-bed Colin Creevey... Harry's #1 fan, whether he wanted a fan or not... but he was the first person he could think of who owned a camera. Colin had wanted to come take the picture, but Harry said they could then be considered a three-man team, which would be cheating, so Colin settled for showing Harry how the camera could work by itself. With their third item taken care of, Harry and Cedric headed back to the castle, Cedric blowing kisses over his shoulder to the giant squid on the way.
"That was amazing," said Harry. "How did you do that?"
"Everybody just wants a little attention, Harry."
Cedric knew that was true. He had thought at first that Harry must have put his name into the Goblet of Fire, but he'd watched his reactions to everything that was happening to him. Especially after that article Rita Skeeter had done about the Tournament that was all on Harry and didn't even mention Cedric's name, he could tell Harry would like nothing better than for the world to leave him alone.
"I know. But I'm talking one-on-one attention. A bit of love."
"Oh. Right. Well, I must say, you were a mite fresh with the squid to not even be on first name terms," Harry teased.
"His name is Samuel."
Harry stopped in his tracks. "It's a boy... squid? So... you mean the giant squid is... gay?"
Cedric laughed. "Well, I suppose so. Although I would find the fact that he's interested in an entirely different species a little more shocking."
"Yeah, I guess you're right."
"Hey, Harry, it's almost 11:30. Time's running out. We had better get to... the one we've been putting off."
"Okay. Don't worry, I won't tell Cho about you and Sammy The Squid. She might get jealous," said Harry with a big grin.
"Very funny," remarked Cedric dryly, though it was probably true. Cho was sweet but rather possessive. "Speaking of Cho, I think I have an idea where we can obtain that last item."
Next thing Harry knew they were under the Invisibility Cloak again. He wondered for maybe the tenth time that evening why it seemed so much more crowded under there than it ever had with Ron and Hermione. He didn't mind, just found it strange. Sure, Cedric was tall, but no more so than Ron... broad-shouldered... but Ron and Hermione were two whole people to Cedric's one, yet far less bumping into occurred between the three of them. Wait, that wasn't true. Ron and Hermione, even when they made him be in the middle, always seemed to bump into each other quite a bit.
Then they were back inside the castle, then sneaking behind a couple of night owl Ravenclaws into their common room. Harry began to realize they were likely heading for Cho's dormitory. But how? He was pretty sure there was a strict rule against boys entering the girls' dorms that not even the Cloak would help them get around.
"What do you have planned?" Harry whispered to Cedric.
Before Cedric could reply, Cho came bounding down the girls' staircase towards them. Cedric whispered, "shh," and pulled Harry along with him, silently and invisibly hurrying up the stairs, past Cho. He'd meant to grab a hold of Harry's robes, and accidentally grabbed his hand instead, but there was no time or reason enough to let go. They needed to get up the stairs before Cho made it down.
In fact, she made it down just one step ahead of them. They were able to jump the final step to their destination, but still got to see the stairs disappear as they did, becoming a giant slide which would have dumped them on their arses. Thankfully, Cho was already gone, seeming not to have noticed.
"We made it," said Cedric in quiet celebration. Smiling down at Harry, he realized the warmth in his palm was Harry's hand, which he was still holding. He let go. "Come on."
Harry had questions he wanted to ask. The hand thing? No, he really wasn't sure he wanted to ask about that. Mostly about how in hell they were going to enter one of the girls' dormitories and not get caught. And... considering that they had been truthful with everyone from a Slytherin Beater to the giant (regardless of sexual orientation) squid tonight... why they had snuck past Cedric's girlfriend, as opposed to seeking her help. But for now he just stayed with Cedric, following.
Then they were in Cho's room. Her roommates were apparently out, which was odd considering how late it was getting. And they'd seen Cho leave, but... where was she going? Once they were inside with the door closed, Cedric whipped the Cloak off of them, looking not at all surprised by the luck of their situation.
"Cedric, how did you know we could do this?" Harry asked.
"I, er... knew the room would be empty. Cho told me her roommates had gotten permission for some kind of sleepover with some of the Hufflepuff girls tonight. She wanted me to come over, since we'd have the room to ourselves, but I told her I couldn't."
Harry didn't really like hearing about Cho wanting to be alone in her room with Cedric. Although maybe he was starting to get over her. This felt different from the jealousy he always used to have thinking of the two of them together. Still there... but something had changed. Perhaps it was just because Cedric was his friend now.
Cedric was almost embarrassed to admit he had turned down the chance to be alone with Cho, especially since he knew Harry liked her. Would Harry be thankful or just think him a fool?
"Right, you told her you were busy with this, the scavenger hunt," Harry assumed.
"No, I didn't tell her about it, actually."
"What? Why not?"
"I don't know. I suppose the main reason I wanted to take part in the first place was because the whole school didn't know about it. Nice and low-key, just for fun. Nobody standing around cheering, wearing stupid badges with my name on."
"I can understand that. But Cho's not just anybody, she's..."
"Supposed to be my girlfriend. Yeah, I know. And she's great, but... I didn't want her there." Cedric felt bad for saying it, but good for realizing it.
Harry was surprised, but also somehow... pleased. "Where is she now?"
"She said if I didn't show up after too long, she would go join the sleepover. So, she'll be there all night. Time for me to continue being the world's best boyfriend and ransack her underwear drawers," said Cedric, heavy with sarcasm.
Harry let Cedric do that alone. It seemed more like his place. For his contribution, he tried to make Cedric feel a little better.
"I didn't tell Ron and Hermione."
Cedric stopped for a moment in surprise, white cotton knickers with little bows on the hips in either hand. "You didn't? But you three do everything together. And Ron's Fred and George's brother... You're telling me they didn't mention it to him?"
"I guess not. They really kept it to just the champions, Ernie, Cecile, Teodor, and themselves. I kept it to myself for the same reasons you did. Plus, ever since the Yule Ball, I've been trying to give Ron and Hermione every chance I can to be alone together. They were looking kind of cozy earlier this evening working on homework, and I didn't want to risk disturbing them."
Cedric smiled, still digging and hoping that girls did keep their tights and their knickers in vaguely the same place. "Helping your best friends find some of that one-on-one attention I was talking about? That's really good of you, Harry... A-ha! And here's your reward!"
A pair of tights... or pantyhose, as per the list (presumably because Fred and George found the American term a funnier word)... suddenly flew across the room and tangled around Harry's head. He pulled it down quickly and shouted "Hey!" at a laughing Cedric, who'd thrown them.
"It likes you," Cedric gasped out between laughs.
"Great. Now can we please go? We're done with the list!"
"I don't think so. Remember, the list said 'a pair of pantyhose, to be worn by a wizard'?"
"So, what? We should have broken into Snape's drawers instead?"
"No... I'm pretty sure one of us is supposed to wear them."
"C'mon, this is Fred and George Weasley. You know that's what they meant."
"But that's just... no way, Ced..."
"We've put a lot into this. It'd be a shame to see it all go to waste when we're this close."
"No fair using that charm on your partner. Or puppy-dog eyes. Okay, fine, we'll do it."
"Great! You put them on, Harry."
"What? Why me? Why not you?"
"Because you have, er, nicer legs?"
Harry actually took a moment of wondering when Cedric had seen his legs... maybe at the second Triwizard task, before they'd jumped in the water... before he got that Cedric was having fun with him.
"Look, I really just don't think I'll fit into them," Cedric kept on. "You're a little more... Cho-sized."
Harry's mouth dropped open. "You better take that back if you're expecting me to help you out here, Mr. Diggory."
"That makes me look around for my father," said Cedric of the formal name. He grinned. "What would I have to do to get you to call me your Diggy?"
Harry knew he was most likely kidding about the Diggy part, but still. "You wear them, whether they fit or not."
Cedric knew that was coming. He took a deep breath. "Okay. To prove I can be as brave as the great Harry Potter..."
And Cedric sat down on Cho's bed, removing his shoes, socks, and finally a pair of trousers from underneath his robes. Even though nothing could be seen, Harry turned around during this, to give him privacy. But the moment Cedric started to pull the sheer black tights onto his feet and up his long, muscular legs, for some reason Harry could not look away.
Cedric noticed but didn't say anything until he had them all the way on... or, as close as he could get. He stood up carefully, holding his robes up to show Harry. The, er... crotch of the tights was hovering around mid-thigh and refused to go up any higher.
"How do they look?" he asked, trying to laugh at himself through his embarrassment.
Harry swallowed nervously a couple of times. "Uncomfortable. Can you walk in those?"
"I doubt it very much." Cedric took about a half-step and changed his answer to, "No." Pulling out his wand, he performed a simple spell to enlarge the tights to fit him. Instantly, his legs relaxed a little, his thighs no longer painfully bound, and he found he was able to pull the nylon torture device on the rest of the way. "There, that's better." Well, better, but hardly comfortable. He was still wearing ladies' tights.
"Nice job," commented Harry, getting a bit more used to the situation.
"So, I guess we're done, huh? I mean, after I've displayed myself in this ridiculous state for the Weasley twins and our esteemed panel of 'judges', of course. How are we for time?"
Harry glanced at a clock Cho had on her dresser, in the shape of a swan. "Twelve minutes," he said, sounding far away.
"Damn, we'd better hurry then. Come on!" But Cedric waited for Harry, who wasn't moving. "Harry?"
"Three out of four tasks on this hunt have been won all thanks to you, Ced. I want to even things up a little bit. Accio pantyhose!"
Harry was relieved that his spell did not make the tights Cedric was wearing fly off his legs. Instead, every pair in the room, owned by Cho and/or any of her roommates, suddenly flew at Harry and hit him in the face. Cedric laughed until Harry hurriedly started to take clothing off... his shoes, socks, pants... and Cedric realized what he was doing.
"Why?" he asked, soberly watching young Harry slip on a pair of silky suntans. "We're covered. My humiliation is enough."
"Like I said. I want to pull my weight more in this competition. Besides, I wanted to prove to you that... Hah! These do not fit me!" Harry performed the same spell Cedric had on his tights, feeling vindicated.
"Maybe that's because you're wearing boxer shorts."
Harry looked down. They were bunching up a bit. Cedric must be wearing Y-fronts... hadn't quite seen... "Well, it will have to be good enough, because if it can be helped, I don't want to know how."
"Or maybe those belong to Cho's roommate, Bettina. She's only five foot one."
"Oh, shut up."
Cedric snickered, teasing, as Harry pulled the tights all the way into place. Harry wasn't really that short. And he did have quite nice legs... Okay, enough of the crazy talk! Time to go! "Six minutes, Harry! Let's get out of here!"
Harry had to run to keep up with him. Running, both boys soon realized that they had left their shoes behind, as they had to learn how to not kill themselves running in stocking feet. Not only were they slipping and sliding, but they had left quite a mess in Cho's room, including both of their trousers, that would have to be taken care of. Harry was carrying the Invisibility Cloak, neither of them wearing it, so hopefully they didn't run across Filch or any professors. And now they were very possibly going to miss their deadline anyway...
"And look who it is! It's Team Potter-Pretty Boy... sorry, meant Potter-Diggory... racing to the finish line at 11:59 and forty-two seconds! Will they make it? Forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty... And they've done it! But did they complete all their tasks?"
Harry and Cedric were clapping each other on the back, half holding each other up so they wouldn't slip and fall anymore. Harry still wasn't sure how they had made it back to where they'd started from, seeing how it was a room that he'd never seen before tonight and he couldn't really tell you where it was located. But they'd made it. Now it was time to take their humiliation together, like men.
"Well, looky here, Fred!"
"Looky where, George?"
"The foxy legs on the Hogwarts champions here. Both of them! Judges? I'm thinking bonus points!"
Harry and Cedric should have known, really. Not to say that it wasn't a real competition, of sorts, but it was taking place the night of March 31st... ending at midnight, what would then be April 1st... April Fool's Day. They were just lucky the Weasleys didn't have the whole school awaiting their stocking-clad return. No, just some photos taken with Colin Creevy's camera, and a healthy dose of catcalling from the judges, and Harry and Cedric were given their winnings... mostly things Fred and George had invented, which might either explode or cause you to become ill on purpose... and set free.
Harry and Cedric had wondered why they'd not come across Fleur and Krum anywhere on their quest. Apparently, those two had begun with the pantyhose search, which had taken them to the Beauxbatons carriage and Fleur's own personal underthings, at which point they'd gotten sidetracked and spent the rest of the evening snogging each other silly. Harry had worried briefly how Hermione would react to this news, but soon decided this could only be a good thing for her and Ron. Anyhow, when Cecile had heard about it from Madame Maxime, who'd caught them, she said apparently Krum had been wearing a pair of Fleur's tights on his head, like an odd flowing hat. This made Harry and Cedric wonder why they hadn't thought of that perhaps slightly less embarrassing option as they walked the grounds outside, too restless now to sleep.
"We did it right, Harry. We should be proud of ourselves."
"Absolutely. Although, I feel bad for Krum. If either of us had been paired with a veela, we might have suffered the same fate."
"Oh, yes, poor Krum suffered terribly tonight, bewitched into snogging Fleur like that."
"Yeah, maybe not," Harry chuckled. "Besides, if I didn't know better, I'd think you were part veela."
Cedric was drinking pumpkin juice (that had been spontaneously brought to him by Dobby inside) and nearly choked when Harry said that. "What does that mean? Did you want to snog me silly all night or something?" he asked, kidding... probably.
Harry hoped he wasn't blushing, but knew he was. "I just meant because you're charming and handsome and you really win people over. Look at the giant squid, er... Samuel."
Handsome. He didn't have to say handsome. "See? It all comes back to that one-on-one attention. Fleur and Viktor, Ron and Hermione..."
"You and Cho."
Cedric shrugged noncommittally. "Sure. What about you, Harry?"
"What about me?"
"Who gives you that little bit of attention that just makes you feel really good, and warm, and like you can do anything?"
Harry was prepared to hedge the answer because he couldn't say Cho, but it came to him that he wouldn't say Cho anyway. He liked her, thought she was pretty, but she didn't do that for him, what Cedric had said. Ron and Hermione were his best friends, but that wasn't quite what he was going for either. The person that came to mind at his description was actually... Cedric.
Harry guessed that wouldn't count, because Cedric was a guy. But it was still true. He kept remembering little moments... The Quidditch World Cup, after Harry's first time using a Portkey, when Cedric reached out a hand and helped him up. When Cedric had helped him with his clue by suggesting a bath, and the way he'd leaned in close to whisper to him. Earlier this evening, when he'd squeezed his shoulder to say thank you, or when he'd held his hand and not dropped it right away. All those things had made Harry feel... a bit confused after the fact... but very good.
The sound of Cedric's voice made Harry realize he was staring at him. He looked guiltily into smoky gray eyes. This is not how I wanted to get over Cho.
Cedric could have sworn he saw something change inside the brilliant green of Harry's eyes. He wasn't entirely sure what it was, but... it pulled at him. Gave him hope of... something. "C'mon. We should get these off."
Harry looked down, moving the material of his robes to the side, seeing the dreaded pantyhose, yet smiling at a memory with Cedric. "Good idea."
They headed back towards the castle, having gotten so used to walking in close proximity that they did so even without the Cloak. Cedric casually put a hand at Harry's back.
"You know, you've got a ladder in your tights?"
Harry held his breath. "So?"
"Nothing," Cedric whispered. "Just wondering if it goes all the way up."
A/N: Hehehe. I had so much fun with that! I don't think it needs any explaining, except to say that if you think I was saying H/C are crossdressers or that pantyhose made them gay, you need to read it again! lol... And I can't believe I outed the giant squid.